Rubbing your eyes can ease dryness by triggering tears and help relieve headache and stress by stimulating the vagus nerve. But eye rubbing can introduce germs from your hands that may cause infection or a foreign body that could scratch your cornea. Additionally, for those with connective tissue disorders, eye rubbing can contribute to the development of keratoconus, a condition which causes the cornea to thin and weaken and that may ultimately require a cornea transplant. Those who have had laser refractive surgery or a cornea transplant or have been diagnosed with a corneal disorder should also avoid eye rubbing to prevent corneal weakening. Those who have glaucoma and rub their eyes may cause intraocular pressure spikes. While eye rubbing may offer short-term relief, it can wreak long-term havoc on your vision.
—Francis W. Price Jr., M.D., is a world-renowned ophthalmologist and founder of the Cornea Research Foundation
This article is featured in the May/June 2021 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.
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